Die Auswirkungen des Coronavirus auf die Luftfracht.

Coronavirus and a Crisis in Aviation – How Airfreight Could Benefit

The coronavirus emergency is threatening to plunge the global economy into crisis. But while many industries have to adjust to plummeting sales and profits, restrictions in the traffic of goods could have a positive outcome for the airfreight sector. Prof. Dr. Arne Schulke, head of Transport and Logistics at IUBH, reports on the effects of the coronavirus on aviation.


In the face of the novel coronavirus, the world is holding its breath. How is the virus affecting aviation?

The effects of the virus on passenger traffic are already very negative, with many airlines suspending flights to and from Asia. The scale of this is strongly reminiscent of the SARS epidemic of 2003, which at its worst saw the number of air passengers worldwide fall by up to 35%.

What consequences could this have for the aviation industry?

Around the world, airlines are facing severe losses. 2020 could be the worst year for the global economy since the financial crisis – so airlines can expect high losses. If, as the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts, the number of passengers falls by 13% in 2020, this would result in the industry’s first loss-year since 2009.

How is the virus affecting the movement of goods?

The security measures against the coronavirus in Asia, and especially in China, have led to a disruption of road and port logistics. This has a massive impact on shipping worldwide.

…which is why companies are switching to airfreight?

Correct, companies are turning to air cargo solutions to bypass these blocked supply routes. The demand for airfreight is increasing rapidly. Of course, the airlines are benefitting from this.

Could the airfreight industry ultimately even profit from the current crisis?

It’s not so simple. The demand for airfreight is increasing, but around 50% of all airfreight is not transported by dedicated cargo airlines, but by passenger aircraft. This means that every passenger flight cancelled due to the coronavirus represents a loss in overall airfreight capability.

Assuming the situation continues to develop the way we’re seeing, which actors would benefit in 2020?

The current crisis is benefiting cargo airlines, mixed carriers and charter airlines. 2020 could be a record year for them.



Prof. Dr. Arne Schulke specialises in Transport and Logistics at IUBH, with a focus on management and leadership in the context of aviation. He is also head of the Transport & Logistics faculty. Prior to becoming a lecturer, Schulke worked for 11 years at time:matters, a Lufthansa Cargo company, as CFO and later as COO.

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